Thursday, 29 October 2009

My Power2010 Ideas

I've been tagged to do the Power 2010 meme. I'm actually quite chuffed that the tag came not from the usual list of suspects but from Tim Trent who I first stumbled upon during the great Heinz caving in to homophobes debacle and have kept up to date with every since through various social networks etc.

The flying I picked up from their stand at conference which I came across the other day while tidying up says:

"POWER2010 gives you the chance to have a say in how our democracy works for us all. Do you want cleaner funding? Fairer voting? More accountability? You decide.

"Tell us your ideas for changing the way we run our country."

So what is my big idea? Some of the Lib Dems have already nicked some of the obvious stuff, desks in front of members, electronic voting, removing the whips' power, reducing numbers and fairer votes. Even some out there ideas like age group specific MPs. So I really have to get a long way outside the box.

1. Prime Minister's Questions: There is a hint in this title to what the purpose of this half hour on a Wednesday is all about. There are questions asked to the Prime Minister. One thing that is often lacking is Prime Minister's Answers in response. What I would like to see is the Speaker to sin bin the Prime Minister if he fails to answer a question. I know that sometimes he does not have an answer to hand and promised to write a response to the questioner. That should have a time limit on it too, and if an answer is not forthcoming the PM enters the sin bin as well.

What will the sin bin entail. I suggest a session on the Thursday, where the speaker will ask the question(s) that have not been adequately answered by the PM. If again he fails to answer the question Paxman like the Speaker will persist. I'm sure that after the first couple of occasions this happens the PM will actually start to give PMAs during PMQs.

2. YouTubing Democracy: I'm right behind Jo Swinson on this one I think it is appalling the way Parliament restricts online clips of goings on in the chamber just to a members own website. Ruling out sites such as YouTube which would have a search ability that when sed correctly when placing a clip could potentially reach a far bigger audience than BBC Parliament, or the people who keep visiting the MPs website. It would also allow others of us like They Work for You or bloggers to embed a clip an highlight the strength of some of our parliamentary debate.

3. Britain's Got Opinions: Currently we decide who puts forward a Private Member's Bill by ballot. Once an MP comes high up the list they then decide what policy to bring before the House. How about along side this having a Public's Bill. Either a list drawn up by the opposition parties and/or put forward by members of the public. Which are then voted on in a public vote. OK maybe we might get a John and Edward policy getting debated in the chamber but it would also connect with what the public actually want to see politicians make decisions on.

4. Job swap: The MPs take on a community volunteer from their constituency for a weeks work experience but in return they also spend a week volunteering with that charity or organisation during the summer recess. I think it will keep a number of MPs real, I know a lot already are but there are still some who see politics as what is in it for them rather than being there to help people.

So those are my ideas what I have to do now is tag five others. Well as there are five parties represented in Holyrood I'm going to tag five bloggers who have some connection to each of them. So over to LYS President Ruaraidh Dobson, James at TwoDoctors, NatStudent at Advanced Media Watch, Yapping Yousuf and recently (ie today) non-aligned Ben Austwick the Cardiff Blogger*.

*But he was on my potential list anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stephen,
    It's a kind thought but I've tried to avoid doing meme blog posts of late. Also, I'm up to my ears in conference prep (although so will you be: can we try to pick different weekends next year please?).

    Having said that, I think your #2 is a no-brainer, and #3 could work as well.

    There are other some good ideas out there too. We need actual devolution down beyond Holyrood, with local authorities making more decisions about their own funding. Abolishing deposits and replacing them with per-constituency and per-region signature requirements. Power for the public to trigger referenda. More radical FOI, (and building on your #2) completely opening up far more public data for coders to do creative stuff with.

    The list of current failings is massive!